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Wildcats vs. Volunteers Preview | Free Pick (Feb. 27)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2010 – #2 Kentucky Wildcats (27-1) vs #19 Tennessee Volunteers (20-7)

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Team records:
Kentucky Wildcats (27-1)
Tennessee Volunteers (20-7)

The No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats will hit the road to take on SEC rivals the No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Saturday.

The Wildcats downed the Volunteers 73-62 the last time the two teams met on Feb 13 in Lexington.

However, the Vols are 13-1 at home and are not likely to just roll over in this one. Tennessee have fallen off pace a bit losing two of their last four, including a 75-62 defeat at Florida on Tuesday night. Vols leading scorer Scotty Hopson, who came off the bench for the first time this season, led Tennessee with 20 points in the loss. Six-foot-nine senior center Wayne Chism had seven points and one rebound before fouling out with four minutes remaining. It’s been an up and down season for the Vols who have had to constantly change their roster because of injuries and the suspension of four players—leading to the eventual dismissal of forward Tyler Smith.

Although Tennessee still relies on defense, it’s no longer of the full-court variety for 40 minutes. Instead they have had opted to shift back to a more conventional set up, allowing them to pay to the strengths they have remaining.

Over in Knoxville the Wildcats can smell blood. Kentucky would assure themselves of at least a share of their 44th SEC championship by beating Tennessee, but would take sole possession of the championship if Vanderbilt also loses at Arkansas. So disposing of the Vols early on in this one will be key. The ‘Cats did just that by beating South Carolina 82-61 on Thursday. Junior Patrick Patterson responded with a season-high 23 points — his second consecutive double double, while Kentucky’ defense held the SEC’s leading scorer, Devan Downey to just 26 points in the win.

Cats freshmen guard John Wall and forward DeMarcus Cousins have gotten most of the attention this year, but down the stretch it is been veterans like Patterson who are making the difference it takes to win the tough games.

The Vols are 3-4 on the road in conference play and will need to keep Kentucky from turning the game into a track meet if they want to play spoiler the Wildcats’ title hopes for one more game.

Kentucky vs. Tennessee Odds

The odds makers have Kentucky as –2-point favorites in this one.

Betting Trends:

Kentucky is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games on the road
Kentucky is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games on the road
Tennessee is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Kentucky
Tennessee is 3-14 SU in its last 17 games when playing Kentucky

Free Wildcats vs. Volunteers CBB Pick

I expect Kentucky to win this one by a narrow margin, keeping their SEC title hopes alive.

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Matt Martz is a freelance writer located in Central California. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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Comments

Comments

  1. Last Game for Kentucky: 82-61 victory over South Carolina (ATS win -16)
    Last Game for Tennessee: 75-62 loss at Florida (ATS loss +2)
    Line: Kentucky -2
    Matchup history: Kentucky 73 – Tennessee 62 (ATS win – -9.5) (two weeks ago)

    Tennessee has not been playing great lately so this may not be the showdown people are hoping for. This team seems out of synch which is suprising given how long it is has been since they had their shakeup. Sure they lost their best player but they were good enough to beat Kansas right after. Kentucky has won eight in a row since their hiccup against South Carolina, mostly in convincing fashion. The Wildcats are very much looking like a juggernaut team that could cruise until the Final Four.

    What can you say about the Wildcats that hasn’t already been said. The only weakness I see if the lack of an outside marksman but other than that this team is loaded. John Wall could wind up being player of the year (I would vote for Evan Turner) and he might not even be the best frosh on the team. Demarcus Cousins is a beast, he is averaging 16ppg and 10rbg in only 22 minutes of action. And don’r forget about Patrick Patterson who when he asserts himself is as good as any forward in America and has added some range to his game. This team is fun to watch.

    I used to say the same thing about the Volunteers but they have lost some lustre. They just seem to lack the intensity of a couple of years ago. Nevertheless this is still a good team and if they can beat Kansas they can certainly give Kentucky a run for their money. The key is Wayne Chism who is probably for the game. They need his big body and outside scoring to make it a game and without him this could get ugly as they get kind of small after him other than Brian Williams who will be outclassed by Patterson and Cousins. Watch closely to see if Chism can go before making a play.

    Score Prediction:

    Kentucky – 78
    Tennessee – 69

    Pick: Even with Chism the way the Volunteers are playing it is hard to see a victory here. The crowd will be in it but if the team doesn’t play well they will peter out after a while. Kentucky breezes to victory.

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